History

“Whatever may be the limitations that trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless Sifting and Winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”

“I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every family of the state.”

  • Charles Van Hise, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin, 1905, discussing the
    Wisconsin Idea

A group of students founded the Sifting and Winnowing 2014, a period of calm before a storm of unrest hit America with fake news, corruption, the decline of coherent discourse, and political division. These students, reflecting the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, set out to restore America’s public policy through idealism and professionalism, which had been stifled amidst the clamoring of pundits.

With the support of Professor Howard Schweber of the Wisconsin Department of Political Science, they organized the first Ideas Conference in the spring of 2018, partnering with the Sifting & Winnowing Undergraduate Journal to publish policy memos written by participants. The event was so successful that the Ideas Conference returned for a second year and inaugurated a new venture:

The Sifting & Winnowing Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that works to support the Ideas Conference and Undergraduate Journal. Our Board is comprised of alumni of Sifting & Winnowing projects, as well as current student leadership of the Ideas Conference and Undergraduate Journal. We want to encourage students to get involved in the policy-making process through networking, publication, and scholarships. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Sig at signe@siftingwinnowing.org.